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Country Reports
POLAND, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mine Ban Policy

Poland signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 but has yet to ratify it, and has indicated it may not ratify in the foreseeable future. Poland was slow to embrace the Ottawa Process and the ban treaty, even though it attended all the treaty preparatory meetings and came to the Oslo negotiations as a full participant. It also voted for the pro-ban UN General Assembly resolution in 1996, and the pro-treaty UNGA resolutions in 1997 and 1998.

But, at the Seminar on Antipersonnel Mines (focused on Central Europe and Baltic countries) held in Stockholm, Sweden on 23-25 May 1997, the representative from the Polish government made it clear that Poland was not prepared to sign the treaty. Poland also initially decided against endorsing the key pro-treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997. Then, Poland was one of a handful of countries that took part in the Oslo negotiations as full participants (not observers) that signaled at the end of the conference they might not sign the Mine Ban Treaty.

As a Foreign Ministry official later explained at the Regional Conference on Landmines in Budapest, Hungary on 26-28 March 1998, Poland signed the Mine Ban Treaty with some reluctance, due to its conviction that “to be effective, such as ban should be universal.” He said, “We will be able to do it [implement the treaty] when we see it becoming truly universal with the participation of all major powers as well as the countries of our region.”[1] He stated that Poland would not put the treaty into practice while it continues to have reservations about NATO implications and concerns about financial resources necessary to destroy stockpiles. He also indicated Poland will have to find an alternative to AP mines first.[2]

Poland has made clear that it views the Conference on Disarmament as the appropriate forum for dealing with landmines. It has supported negotiations on AP mines in the CD since 1996, and was one of the 22 CD members that in February 1999 jointly called for the appointment of a Special Coordinator on antipersonnel mines, and the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to negotiate a ban on antipersonnel mine transfers.[3] Poland is also a state party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (2 June 1983), but has not ratified its amended 1996 Protocol II on mines.

Production, Transfer, and Stockpiling

Poland has produced at least one type of antipersonnel landmine, the PSM-1,[4] and has acknowledged that it used to export AP mines. Poland informed the UN in June 1995 that “the production of antipersonnel landmines in Poland was abandoned in the mid-1980s and the export of those mines has ceased de facto following the adoption of [UNGA 16 December 1993] resolution 48/75K.”[5] Soon thereafter, Poland adopted a formal moratorium on the export of mines that do not self-destruct or are not detectable, effective until 1998. It was later made into a comprehensive moratorium of indefinite length.[6] The size and composition of Poland’s AP mine stockpile is unknown, but can be assumed to be large since Poland has expressed concerns about the cost of destruction. No destruction has yet occurred.

Humanitarian Mine Action

The government has reported that Poland is not mine affected--post-World War II mine clearance was completed in the 1950s--but there is still a problem with unexploded ordnance.[7] Past reports have noted the presence of unexploded ordnance, including landmines, on former Soviet bases. The Polish military has a relatively advanced mine clearing capability.[8]

Poland has provided expert assistance and training to demining operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Lebanon, and also has provided rehabilitation assistance for mine victims. The Polish Red Cross has announced that it is prepared to participate in international efforts related to demining and mine victim rehabilitation, but requires outside funding.[9]


[1] Statement at Budapest Conference by Mr. Kazimierz Tomaszewski, Senior Counselor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland, 26-28 March 1998.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Statement by Bulgarian Ambassador Petko Draganov to the Conference on Disarmament, undated but February 1999; see also Tomaszewski statement, Budapest Conference Report, p. 22

[4]U.S. Department of Defense, “Mine Facts” CD ROM.

[5] United Nations General Assembly, “Report of the Secretary-General: Moratorium on the export of antipersonnel landmines,” A/50/701, 3 November 1995, p. 15.

[6] Ibid, p. 7. See also, statement of Mr. Tomaszewski to the Budapest Conference; Country Profiles, United Nations Demining Database, http:www.un.org.Depts/Landmine/ (Ref. 3/8/99).

[7] Statement of Mr. Tomaszewki to Budapest Conference, 26-28 March 1998; Country Profiles, United Nations Demining Database.

[8]United States Department of State, Hidden Killers, July 1993, p. 143.

[9]United States Department of State, Hidden Killers, September 1998, pp. C-3, C-6.